Ethereum CME Futures Volume Tops $30 Million On Day One

In brief

  • Ethereum CME futures launched on Monday, joining Bitcoin on the world’s oldest and largest futures exchange platform.
  • ETH futures saw more than $30 million in trading volume on the first day on the market.
  • CME futures may elevate ETH’s status as an institutional-grade asset.

Ethereum futures from Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group have finally arrived, and trading is off to a healthy start, with more than $30 million in futures contracts traded in the first 24 hours after launch.

CME ETH futures launched yesterday, February 9, adding the second largest crypto by market cap to the world’s largest and oldest futures exchange group, joining Bitcoin in an exclusive club of digital assets with strong enough foundations to find a place in traditional futures markets.

CME added Bitcoin futures in December 2017, the very same week BTC prices hit a previous bull run all-time high just shy of $20,000. Now, Ethereum futures are open for trading, with February and March futures trading at $1,769 and $1,804, respectively.

Futures contracts represent obligations to buy or sell an asset at a given price on a predetermined future date, and can be bought and sold like stock and other market-traded assets. That allows individuals or companies to bet that the market price will be higher or lower than the contract price at execution, allowing them to profit from the difference. 

Futures contracts are also commonly used as hedging instruments; if a business knows they need to buy a specific amount of Ethereum at a given upcoming date, futures contracts are a good way to lock in a known price in advance.

CME Ethereum and Bitcoin futures are cash-settled instruments, meaning the difference between spot prices and executed contract prices are paid in cash, rather than any actual crypto changing hands. 

On the first day of ETH trading, contract issuers generated approximately $20 million in open interest, a measure of contracts available to be bought and sold. Total volume reached above $30 million, as traders got their feet wet buying and selling ETH futures to try to determine the appropriate pricing.

CME is not the first to offer Ethereum futures trading, with exchanges like Binance, Deribit, OKEx and several others having added ETH futures trading since the 2017 bull market. But the CME launch marks a major milestone for Ethereum, offering institutional investors and risk-averse corporations a new path to exposure to the native asset of the largest decentralized development platform in crypto.


The views and opinions expressed by the author are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.


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France’s AMF Chairman Calls for New Approach to Proposed EU Crypto Regulations

Robert Ophèle, chairman of France’s financial regulatory body, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), proposed a robust approach regarding cryptocurrecy regulations in order to encourage the growth and development of innovative projects.

AMF Chairman Proposes Blockchain and DeFi Testing in Pilot Regime

Speaking at the just concluded 5th Annual Conference Fintech and Regulation, Ophèle stated that with the continuous growth of the cryptocurrency sector, it was necessary for Europe to put in place appropriate regulatory policies.

Back in September 2020, the European Commission proposed a new regulatory framework for crypto assets. The proposal included a pilot regime for markets willing to trade and settle using crypto transactions.

The commission also introduced a policy called the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA) for crypto assets not considered as financial instruments. Digital wallet providers and crypto exchanges would also come under the purview of the MiCA.

Meanwhile, Ophèle touched on the commission’s proposes crypto regulations, stating:

“However, while it is necessary to structure the regulation for products that do not qualify as financial instruments I should confess that I am equally supportive of the other legislative proposal covering crypto-assets that qualify as financial instruments: the proposal for a pilot regime, which could waive some provisions of existing regulations. MiCA will close a loophole while the pilot regime will prepare tomorrow’s financial market.”

The AMF chief further mentioned various improvements that could help provide a robust policy regime. Ophèle stated that a strictly limited policy regime would drive crypto-based businesses out of the European Union (EU).

Part of the recommendations include widening the scope of technologies to be tried and tested. Ophèle noted that business models that operate decentralized finance (DeFi) and blockchain should be allowed testing in the proposed pilot regime.

ESMA Competent to Lead New Regulations

In addition, the AMF Chairman recommended the European Securities and Market Authority (ESMA) to be in charge of the new regulation. Giving reasons for proposing ESMA as a competent body, Ophèle said:

“First, this would be the best way to guarantee a level playing field in the EU. Second, as this regulation is brand new, it is easier to provide ESMA with competence from the outset than if this is considered at a later stage. Moreover, it would make sense to gather all the expertise within the same authority, since the cost of entry in the crypto-world is quite high.”

Meanwhile, more countries continue to formulate regulatory policies for the crypto industry. However, Christine Lagarde, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), said back in January that bitcoin needed a unified global regulatory framework.


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FTX CEO claims competitor responsible for racist messages delivered to Blockfolio users

On February 9, Blockfolio’s Signal feed was briefly compromised, resulting in some users receiving racist messages within the company’s app.

Users said that the culprits went so far as to threaten loss of funds if deposits were not removed from the crypto portfolio platform. While the derogatory messages were reportedly scrubbed by Blockfolio’s security team within about 30 minutes, the incident left many wondering how such an attack could have occurred.

Tweeting on Tuesday, SBF offered updates about the incident, alleging that a competing exchange was to blame.

“We have spent the last four hours investigating every angle and tracking down leads; we’re relieved to say that we’ve figured out what happened,” SBF tweeted, adding:

“This offensive content was produced and published by a competitor exchange of ours who maliciously gained access to someone else’s Blockfolio News/Signal capabilities.”

The FTX CEO condemned the culprit, but did not name the competitor. Access to the Signal feed reportedly did not affect or jeopardize any funds. 

According to SBF, Blockfolio has completed their investigation into the matter, and the company has fixed the vulnerability that ignited the situation. The FTX CEO promised to improve the security infrastructure around Blockfolio’s non-trading protocols to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Bankman-Fried was praised by many in the cryptocurrency community for reacting swiftly and transparently to the incident, and as a measure of compensation he apparently added $10 to the trading accounts of affected users. SBF also stated that he has donated to organizations dedicated to fighting racial and societal injustices as a result of the incident.

FTX acquired Blockfolio for $150 million back in August 2020. This is not the first security-related issue the company has experienced. In May 2020, a white-hat hacker named Paul Litvak reported a security flaw that exposed the platform’s source code on older app versions to malicious actors. 

At the time, Litvak revealed that the vulnerability was over two years old. Fortunately for Blockfolio, no malicious actor was any the wiser about the flaw’s existence, allowing the company to solve the issue and double-down on a


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Ethereum Grants $1 Million to Staking Projects

Key Takeaways

  • The Ethereum Foundation has spent $1 million to support several Ethereum 2.0 staking projects.
  • Many of those projects are already operational.
  • The Ecosystem Support Program continues to accept inquiries.

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The Ethereum Foundation has granted $1 million to community projects that support Ethereum 2.0’s staking features.

$1 Million in Grants

The $1 million in funding was distributed between 25 different projects in 4 different categories. Those categories include community and education efforts, new tooling, data analysis and visualization, and research.

Notable projects that received funding as part of this month’s payouts include CoinCashew’s guide to Ethereum 2.0 staking, Bitfly’s beacon chain explorer, Omni Analytics’ validator health tracker, and a research program at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center.

Ethereum 2.0’s beacon chain went live in December 2020, and many of the projects that received grants are already operational. However, ETH transactions still take place on Ethereum 1.x.

Other Ethereum Grants

The grants were coordinated by the Ethereum Foundation’s Ecosystem Support Program, which is still open to other inquiries.

This month’s grants are in line with the program’s usual payout amounts, which range from $5,000 for individual users to over $200,000 for larger teams. Notable past recipients include the DeFi platform Uniswap ($50,000), the go client Turbo-Geth ($25,000), and the node software Ethereum on ARM ($20,000).

Gitcoin, a community-led Ethereum grants project, is also supporting various projects. It has facilitated $11.3 million of transfers to date.

At the time of writing this author held less than $75 of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and altcoins.

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TORN soars 200% as Tornado.Cash’s governance token becomes tradable

The decentralized finance (DeFi) “stimulus checks” keep coming as Tornado.Cash joins Uniswap, Badger DAO, StakeDAO, and others in “airdropping” a now-tradable TORN governance token to early protocol participants.

Tornado Cash, which is an Ethereum “tumbling” service that obscures transactional history in order to preserve user privacy (as well as allow scammers and hackers a method to launder their funds), first announced the launch of a governance token in December. A snapshot for the airdrop was taken for Ethereum block 11400000, which was mined on December 6th, and addresses which had interacted with the protocol prior to that point were entitled to an amount of TORN tokens weighted to the frequency and amount of Ether they used.

At current valuations, the distribution was one of the most lucrative for recipients to date. According to a post on community forums, the average recipient received 66.54 TORN tokens currently worth over $23,000, and the median user took in 21.24 tokens, worth $7500. The single largest recipient harvested over 2500 tokens worth a whopping $888,000.

The 500,000 airdropped tokens represent just 5% of the eventual 10,000,000 total TORN supply. The token had been locked as non-transferrable for 45 days, but that was released yesterday, and an additional 10% of the total supply is set aside for a “anonymity mining” program similar to liquidity mining.

Trading for the young token has been notably volatile. A liquidity pool on exchange aggregator and automated market maker (AMM) 1inch was established shortly after the token was unlocked, and TORN has a 24-hour high and low of $428 and $113, per Coingecko. At the time of writing the token currently trades at $350, and a pool has also been established on Uniswap.

Despite the airdrop bonanza, however, some have expressed skepticism that Tornado.Cash needs a governance token at all. The protocol currently works as intended, and the team transitioned the contracts to a state of immutability last year.

Additionally, in the governance announcement blog post the team did not specify what the DAO treasury or team reserves — a combined total of 8,500,000 TORN tokens locked in a 3-5 year vesting schedule currently worth $3 billion — will be used for, only that through a DAO “the users of Ethereum will control their own privacy protocol.”

In a Tweet from last year, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin seemed to echo this sentiment, saying that Tornado.Cash functions best as a “tool” rather than as an “ecosystem.”

Nonetheless, as asset valuations inflate across DeFi, this perhaps superfluous token drop likely won’t be the last.